King of the Perverts by Steve Lowe (Submission)
Genre: Bizarro fiction, satire, humor perverse, it’s porn- it’s porn
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Summary: Dennis is your typical nobody. Stuck in a bad marriage and several dead end jobs, he isn’t someone you would look twice at. Until he lands a starring role in the online gameshow/porno “King of the Perverts” and proves to be a particularly adroit swordsman. Pun intended. But when his Russian cameraman holds him hostage for the prize money things get difficult, in this hilarious satire on the porn industry. And if that doesn’t sell you : BOOOOOBS! Did I mention boobs?
King of the Perverts isn’t a shy novel, bringing things right out of the gate by opening with a golden shower and some light vomiting. That being said, this novella is not for readers with weak stomachs or the unperverse. Definitely making that a word now. The finale in particular is disturbingly nauseating and I had to take a break from my reading to make it past some of the more raunchy sex acts. But if that’s your sort of thing, this is the book for you! Perverts.
Strange sexual proclivities aside, underneath the donkey punches is a smart, witty satire. On porn. A pornographic satire if you will about the industry, the way woman are treated in that sphere and a whole lot of questions about consent. And yes, all those themes will be addressed in the text in one way or another. Even if it’s ultimately about women debasing themselves for notoriety and profit. As a woman I don’t necessarily agree with the decisions of my fictional female counterparts, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen or that it’s not just a commentary on the inner-workings of the porn industry. It’s an unfortunate part of the American way. Or the porny way.
The story itself follows Dennis, a non-descript forgettable, average guy caught up in a bad marriage with the former love of his life, Carrie. While Dennis works hard to give his wife everything she could possibly want, Carrie is too busy being an archetypical demanding spouse who spends all Dennis’ money and is more concerned with being an unemployed romantic to do anything for herself. WARNING: there are very few likeable characters in this book. She further shatters all of Dennis’ hopes and dreams when she gives birth to a baby of a different race. Whoops!
With all these troubles, you would expect Dennis to be a pretty pessimistic guy, right? Nope! He’s a humorous narrator who sees life in sassy ways. Which is good because not much goes right for him. Where he really shines is the side commentary. For example, “Curse you, shitty Applebee’s bartender and your watered down, suburban-housewife-strength mixing skills.” Although, can you really call an Applebee’s bartender a bartender? That’s like saying Applebee’s serves real food. Applebee’s is people! Applebees is people!
But Cassie, weren’t you going to talk about how the book is a satire on pornography? Now you’re just telling us about Dennis and how he’s a funny guy who has bad luck with the ladies. To which I say, shut up, I’m getting there, let me lay out the plot for you first! In a possible stroke of good luck, Dennis finds himself embroiled in a porno turned game show, hosted by former porn star Peter Oh’Tool. Dennis is sent out into the world to complete a series of sexual challenges like “the alligator fuckhouse” and the Abe Lincoln AKA a gorilla mask with unsuspecting women. Along with more expected sexual positions like the dirty sanchez and the rust trombone. What is this review?
Enough of all that though, onto the satirical elements. We are told “King of the Perverts” is put on by Dixar Studios and there are also puns on words like cliterature and fapfests. ::facepalm:: This fictional porn company is so big it literally rivals the company Pixar. How has Dixar not been sued for some sort of copyright infringement yet by Pixar!?! <– Major tip off that this has to be a satire.
Lowe also gives us commentary on overdone and overworked women, particularly the big (read: fake) breasted, overly tan ladies of porn. As Dennis tells us about a female porn star he sees when the show begins, “She was all sorts of strange angles and unnatural proportions and I thought she looked sort of like an alien not used to walking erect had donned a human skin suit to try and pass for a human rather than a horrific space spider.” I’m sure the fetish heels don’t help.
Satire on porn, check. Women’s place in it? Women are objects to be used to pleasure men. Money and fame are more important to them than respecting themselves and they go so far as to mutilate their bodies and become something other than human (see above) to fit an idealized images of how they should look. Ugh. Besides these ideas, the novella also explores ideas of consent. As Dennis works his way through sexual challenges, the women he is doing them with are- we are led to believe- being videotaped unaware. Unfortunately, filming these women doesn’t have many ramifications for our male participants. Yet more commentary on the porn industry. A bizarro fiction novella about porn? Smarter than you think.
A word to the wise however, this books is full of lewd sexual acts and reads like a real porn with plenty of bodily fluids. It’s most certainly not your average softcore porn. Nor is it late night Cinemax (Skinemax?). Thankfully, it’s more well-written than any porn could hope to be.
-Great satire on the porn industry
-Interesting yet sad exploration of a woman’s place in porn
-Made me think a lot about the nature of consent
-Hilarious commentary from our narrator/only likeable character Dennis
-Can get perverse to the point where you’re nauseous
-The ending disappointed me but it does serve as a good commentary
Occasionally in bizzaro book reviews I mention the proclivity of the author to add in some disturbing, possibly nauseating elements which they somehow feel makes the book more bizarro. In this case, that’s the entire premise of this novella. Take note other bizarro works, I don’t think you could get my stomach churning more than Steve Lowe.